Should I use VERA UI6?

VERA has recently released the beta version of UI6 - their new firmware for the VERA Lite and VERA3 controllers.

However, even though this hasn't been officially announced, VERA is informing all new VERA users to upgrade to UI6 rather than stay on UI5. This is causing some issues as UI6 currently doesn't fully support all devices, plugins or Apps. So in this post we'll take a quick look at VERA UI6 and whether it's right for first time users.

VERA UI6

The 6th version of the VERA firmware (UI6) is aimed at a more mass market (less technical) user than the previous versions, including the current UI5.

UI6 is designed to be more user friendly and is intended to make it easier to create scenes and configure devices. It includes set-up wizards for a number of devices to help configure them and it can use predefined 'Home' presets to automate your system, such as Home, Away, Night, Vacation etc.

It also includes a new remote access system that is intended to make it faster and more reliable to control your VERA network while you're away from home.

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UI6 uses a lot of UI5, in fact most of the new features in UI6 are a thin veneer on UI5. The new look and feel is built on top of UI5. And if you go to the advanced section of any device or scene you'll find the user interface changes to UI5.

So in that respect, UI6 isn't a whole new user interface, it's really a stepping-stone from UI5 (current) to UI7 (due end of 2014).

And this is where the problems start.

VERA hasn't formally announced UI6 and many 3rd party developers haven't had access to it until recently. This means that many plugins (one of the great things about VERA) don't work with UI6. The new remote access system isn't supported by most of the VERA smartphone apps, so remote access either doesn't work, or it's unreliable.

Should I use UI6?

Our view is no.

UI6 may become a good solution, but at the moment there are just too many issues for us to recommend using it.

If you're an existing UI5 user, we recommend you stay with UI5 and install UI5 updates as they become available - we know of at least one UI5 firmware update coming out in the next few weeks.

New Users

This is where it gets very confusing.

Even though UI6 hasn't been formally announced, new VERA users are prompted to register their new VERA at http://home.getvera.com - this immediately asks them to upgrade VERA's firmware to UI6.

And being a new user, they assume VERA knows best and do just that.

Once updated to UI6 they find issues with apps and plugins or just plain device capability. Also registering at the 'getvera' site creates a completely different account to one which would have been created if they used the UI5 route - making downgrading or using apps difficult or impossible.

Our Recommendation

We strongly recommend that you IGNORE the Quick Start Guide included in the VERA packaging.

Instead, stay with UI5 and register an account in the existing VERA server:

  • Go to cp.mios.com
  • Register a new user account
  • Log into your VERA and upgrade to the latest version of UI5 firmware
  • Do this by going to SETUP > Firmware
  • If there is an update available, VERA will prompt you to download and install it
  • The latest version available now is 1.5.622

If you follow these steps, you'll be using the latest UI5 and you won't be missing out on anything. Later, If you decide to upgrade to UI6, that's fine as you'll be doing it in a controlled way and you'll be fully aware of the consequences.

This is our view from what we've seen over the last couple of weeks. I'd be glad of any feedback or comments you have.

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If you've already updated to UI6 and would like to know how to downgrade or what the latest version of UI5 is, take a look at these Knowledgebase articles.

 

Mark.

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